Archive | Politics

National Review: For gay marriage and against Christian teaching

I am not going to write an extended refutation of Jason Lee Steorts’s National Review article defending legal same-sex marriage. His arguments have been dealt with extensively elsewhere (see here or here for instance). But several quick comments are in order:

1. The National Review is a leading journal of conservative opinion. It should not be lost on us that many conservatives are eager to shed the albatross of traditional marriage. They view it as a political loser. Younger conservatives can hardly comprehend any reason to oppose gay marriage. At this point, the Republican party is divided on the issue with traditional social conservatives being the only ones holding the line. Those social conservatives have always been viewed as a key part of the Republican coalition. For the time being, they still are. But how long will that last? That a leading journal of conservative opinion would publish an article like this tells us something about the future of political conservatism in America. Continue Reading →

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Christian schools to lose tax-exempt status over gay marriage

In a column for USA Today, Michael Farris looks at the implications of legal gay marriage for Christian schools. He writes:

If the court rules in favor of same sex marriage, how can religious colleges that refuse to acknowledge such unions avoid [losing tax-exempt status]?

No one should think that IRS implications will stop with colleges. Religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches.

All of these entities are exempt from taxation under the same section of the IRS code. And even though churches can be exempt without application, their exemption can nonetheless be revoked.

Even if it takes the IRS years to begin the enforcement proceedings against such institutions, we can expect other fallout from this decision to begin shortly after the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding will be coerced into immediate compliance. Accreditation agencies will ratchet up their bullying of Christian institutions, as has already been done against Gordon College in Massachusetts. Threats to accreditation are fatal. Colleges may not legally operate in several states without it.

Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions.

If you think this outcome isn’t possible, you aren’t paying attention. This has always been the endgame for the activists. They want to marginalize and destroy all dissent to the sexual revolution. And that means they have to target people of faith. The best way to destroy religion’s institutional base is to have their tax-exempt status removed. It’s coming. Read the rest here.

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Protecting Your Ministry from Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Lawsuits

In 2006 Chai Feldblum—whom Pres. Obama would later appoint as a commissioner of the EEOC—wrote that gay rights create a bona fide conflict with religious liberty. In an interview that same year, she told Maggie Gallagher that when there is a conflict between sexual liberty and religious liberty, sexual liberty should almost always win. In Feldblum’s own words, Continue Reading →

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Ryan Anderson says Kennedy may rule against redefining marriage

Ryan Anderson went on Bill Bennet’s radio program today and said that he believes Kennedy may rule against redefining marriage (listen above). In Anderson’s own words:

I went in thinking that Kennedy might have already made up his mind and Kennedy might be inclined to strike down these laws. I came out thinking Kennedy hasn’t made up his mind. And there’s a good chance that Kennedy’s going to be inclined to uphold the male-female marriage definition.

I would like to let myself believe that Anderson is correct, but I am still very skeptical. Yes, Kennedy asked some tough questions. But Kennedy has written two landmark opinions in favor of gay rights–Lawrence (2003) and Windsor (2013). In the latter case, he specifically attributed opposition to gay marriage to irrational animus. I just don’t see how he walks that back at this point. Even though he asked tough questions in oral arguments, I’m skeptical that he will now overturn his gay rights legacy and nullify precedents that he himself wrote.

Again, I hope I’m wrong about this. Nothing would make me happier than for Anderson to be right!

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Brief Reflections on the Oral Arguments

Before yesterday’s oral arguments on gay marriage at the Supreme Court, I had contended that the Court’s decision was pretty much a foregone conclusion. I predicted that by the end of June, the Court would rule gay marriage to be a Constitutional right. Now that the case is in, I have listened to all of the arguments made by attorneys on both sides of the question. I have also listened to the Justices’ grilling of those attorneys, and I can say this. I am no Constitutional scholar, but I heard nothing today that would alter my original prediction. The Court will ensconce a Constitutional right to gay marriage. Continue Reading →

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Transcript and Audio of Supreme Court same-sex marriage case

Below are the audio and transcripts of oral arguments made in the same-sex marriage case heard by the Supreme Court today (Obergefell v. Hodges). Justices heard each side present arguments in answer to two questions:

1. Does the 14th Amendment require states to issue marriage licenses to two people of the same sex?

2. Does the 14th Amendment require states to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states?

The Court will render a ruling on these questions by the end of June. In the meantime, you can listen to or read the arguments from both sides below. Continue Reading →

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Gay marriage will cause a winnowing of the evangelical ranks. It already is.

Most readers already know how historic today is in our national life. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments concerning gay marriage. The Justices will render a decision on the matter by the end of June. Given the high court’s precedents in the 2003 Lawrence decision and in the 2013 Windsor decision, most observers agree that the current case is a forgone conclusion. The Supreme Court is poised to declare gay marriage a constitutional right.

Seventy percent of Americans already live in states where gay marriage is legal. But by the end of June, one hundred percent of Americans will live in a state where gay marriage is legal. That means that every community in America—from New York City to Los Angeles, California to DeRidder, Louisiana—will have gay marriage. That is what we are facing, and the final stage of the legal battle starts today.

Today’s oral arguments come amidst a moral revolution in our country on the definition of marriage, and that revolution even cuts into those who claim the mantle of Christianity. Daniel Burke reports for CNN that “there are now more people of faith who favor marriage equality than stand against it, a dramatic turn in one of this country’s most divisive debates and a generational shift.” The shift is indeed overwhelmingly generational. Burke writes,

Seven in 10 Millennials, for example, support same-sex marriage and say that faith groups alienate young adults by being judgemental on sexual ethics. Half of millennial Republicans say gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry, and 43% of white evangelical millennials agree.

That last number is the one that should stand out. Who knows how these evangelical millennials are defined. Nevertheless, the story suggests that not even evangelicals can escape the revolution—a revolution that will have the imprimatur of the Supreme Court by the end of this summer.

So this is a watershed moment in our national life, and it is a watershed moment for Christianity in America. As popular opinion and legal precedent move decisively in favor of gay marriage, those who call themselves Christians have a choice. They can either join the revolution or they can follow Jesus. Which is another way of saying that they can walk the narrow path that leads to life or they can join the throngs headed down the broad road that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). Gay marriage will cause a winnowing of our ranks, and we are about to find out who is willing to follow Jesus when it gets hard.

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Uncommon moral clarity from a politician

Bobby Jindal has an Op-Ed in The New York Times today defending religious liberty in the face of recent challenges. The main point of the article is indeed religious liberty, but the most remarkable paragraph in the article is this one:

I hold the view that has been the consensus in our country for over two centuries: that marriage is between one man and one woman. Polls indicate that the American consensus is changing — but like many other believers, I will not change my faith-driven view on this matter, even if it becomes a minority opinion.

When is the last time you saw a politician with national aspirations willing to plant his flag so clearly with a religious minority? And yet that is exactly what Jindal has done. We are rapidly approaching the time when no politician will make such a bold public statement. It simply will not be feasible politically for them to do so, and so they won’t. We may already be at that time. For that reason, I respect all the more the moral clarity of Jindal’s words.

Yes, Jindal’s statement will please many social conservatives. But make no mistake. His national prospects just dimmed because he said this. He has to know this, and that is remarkable.

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Why gay marriage will fail

Peter Leithart has an insightful piece at First Things explaining why gay marriage will ultimately fail. Because it owes to a culture-bound distortion created by heterosexuals (so-called “romantic marriage”), it will ultimately come to the same ruin. His conclusion is spot-on:

Gay marriage may further damage marriage; but heterosexuals damaged marriage nearly beyond recognition all on our own. 

Read the rest here

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Why have some evangelicals turned against reparative therapy?

The Atlantic tweeted a link to an article this morning with this statement: “Why did Christian conservatives turn against gay conversion therapy?” It turns out that the article is by Jonathan Merritt, and it describes the shrinking fortunes of reparative therapy. As I mentioned last week, President Obama recently came out publicly against reparative therapy, and now Merritt is explaining how its influence has waned even among evangelicals. It’s a fascinating article, and you can read it here. Continue Reading →

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